It takes a bit of practice but homemade pizza is one of the best things to make with children and, even if you are a little reluctant to make the dough yourself, there are many other options. Homemade tomato pizza sauce for the base will make a world of difference and can be customized to your liking.
For example, if you keep a packet of tortillas or pita bread in the freezer, it is quick and simple to slice open the pita bread, spread with some homemade pizza sauce, top with your favourite filling and grill for 3-4 minutes. This goes down a treat after school and once the kids are responsible with a knife and using the oven safely (around age 10), they can make it themselves after school. Just remember to sandwich 2 tortillas together with cheese to make it a stronger base for the pizza
Another option would be to make naan bread with this simple recipe.
250g self raising flour
30ml natural/greek yogurt
115ml lukewarm water.
Place first 4 ingredients in a bowl and mix briefly. Slowly add water while mixing until mixture starts to look like a dough. Knead for a minute until you can form a neat ball. Set aside until a cloth for an hour. Preheat oven to grill or 240 degrees celcius. Divide into 8 pieces and roll out each piece into a long oval. Set up a baking sheet with a cooling rack (that is safe to go into the oven). Place cooling rack on top of baking sheet and place in the oven to allow for it to preheat. When the oven is ready place 3-4 pieces of dough side by side and allow to grill the one side, remove from the oven, add sauce and toppings to the “unbaked side” and place back in the oven for a further 2 minutes.
Yes, it might not be an authentic Italian pizza with dough that has been kneaded and left to rise all day then rolled out and cooked in a wood-fired stove but few people have time to go to that amount of effort on a busy week night when the traffic was hell, there is a project due for tomorrow and there is still homework to help with.
The one thing that can be made in advance over the weekend and kept in the fridge (for about 5 days) to make this pizza extra special is homemade pizza sauce. Each family will have their preference in terms of herbs used, amount of garlic included and whethere it includes chillis but if you don’t know where to start, use this as a base and experiment from there.
I love roasting about 400g of fresh, ripe Rosa or jam tomatoes that have been placed in a prepared baking dish with whole garlic cloves (as many as you want), a roughly chopped onion, some balsamic vinegar and olive oil and 10ml of sugar for about 25 minutes (at 240 degrees celcius) until the edges start to turn black then throwing that into the blender and blitzing until smooth. This method doesn’t need any stirring or standing by the pot and you can get it done while you put the kids into the bath and check homework.
Another option uses tinned tomatoes in a pot and if you prefer this method (a little bit more traditional) then this is how you do it. Don’t worry about any fine chopping, this will go into a blender at the end anyway.
15ml olive oil
1 large onion roughly chopped
4-5 cloves of garlic, roughly chopped
410g tin of whole tomatoes in juice
salt and pepper to taste
Fry onion in olive oil until golden brown, add garlic and fry briefly. Crush tomatoes by hand before adding to the pot and adding the remaining juice from the can and lower the heat. Allow to come to a brisk bubble and stir to stop anything from burning. Add sugar and stir through. Allow to bubble and reduce (thicken) for about 5 minutes. Add salt and pepper and set aside to cool before allowing the children to handle it. Tomato burns are incredibly painful.
Place cooked tomato mixture into the blender and blitz until smooth. Check seasoning and adjust with salt and pepper and dried or fresh herbs.